Look, I have a blog! I never had a Livejournal back in the olden days, so this is new to me.
I was tempted to make my first post entirely about my blog title and my indecisiveness on that front, but there are more pressing issues to discuss. However, I will say that I almost threw in the towel and called it "naming it is the hardest thing." If I ever write a novel I will not name it until it is finished, and if I ever have a baby I will just call it "Baby" for the first few weeks. You have to wait for something to grow a discernible personality before you can give it a name, I think.
Anyway! Back on topic--Peace Corps! I am leaving in eighteen days (eep!) for Guyana, a small country on the northern coast of South America. Not Guinea. Not Ghana. And no, they don't speak Spanish--their official language is English! Their culture has been described as more Caribbean than Latin, and the capital and only large city is Georgetown. Temperatures range from nighttime lows of around 70 to daytime highs of around 90. Those are the basics--I will blog more specifically about the language (which I find really interesting) and other things as I go along.
Preparation for departure is not too overwhelming yet. I bought some books, a new camera, a pair of really intense sandals, a Diva cup, a good rain jacket, and some dressy clothes suitable for teaching in 90 degree weather. I read "Reading for Meaning," which I'd recommend to any elementary ed people out there, and I'm almost finished with "Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle" by Moritz Thomson, which I'd recommend to pretty much anyone reading this blog. The author served in Ecuador in the '60s, right when the Peace Corps was starting up, and even if this isn't as relevant to your life as it is to mine, he's a damn good writer, and it's interesting stuff.
Still to do: some paperwork to sort out and a LOT of packing...I'm allowed to bring 80 pounds of stuff, which seems reasonable to me. However, I'm in a facebook group with other Peace Corps Volunteers who are going to Guyana with me, and several of them are already entirely packed and over the weight limit. Makes me think that maybe I should start packing.
High on my list of to-do's is seeing all my friends and family as much as possible. I received a lovely surprise this weekend when six of my college friends drove all the way out to Long Island to visit me. I had a blast, hugged and cuddled and (drank quite a bit) and talked and listened and overall basked in the warm feeling of being surrounded by good friends. And then they left and I was exhausted from staying up all night, so I took a nap. And when I woke up the house was dark and quiet for the first time in 24 hours...for the first time in a long time, really, since my brother had just left for college. It was then that I first felt a loneliness creep up on me, a loneliness that I think will be a common feeling during my Peace Corps service, at least in the beginning. Don't get me wrong...I'm excited, I'm ECSTATIC, like jumping-up-and-down excited at times, and my heart is entirely set on this. And, I've left things before. After high school I left the only home I ever knew, but, quite honestly, it didn't really phase me. Leaving hurts more now, not because I'm afraid of a new culture or poor living conditions or even because of the amount of time I'll be away from home, but because I value the people in my life more than I used to. Realizing that makes me appreciate the loneliness, for what a worse thing to never feel loneliness because I was never close enough with anyone to miss them.
On a lighter note, one final point of interest: I'm training myself to like bananas. I've never ever liked bananas...once a cross country coach told me that I was probably performing badly because I didn't get enough potassium and I should eat lots of bananas, and I almost cried. However, yesterday I read in Living Poor about how there were periods of time when the author lived on nothing but bananas for days on end because they were the only thing to eat in his village. I'm eating a banana right now in preparation, and you know what, it isn't half bad.